Archive for the ‘disorder in the house’ Category

So the other night at dinner at Mack’s, some collection agent walked right up to me in the middle of my meal and started talking about how I was three months’ behind on my car payment.

No, not really, but apparently a similar thing happened between Sheryl “Lance Dumped Me” Crow, Laurie “My husband is not as funny as he thinks” David and Karl “Please God don’t Let Me Rap Again” Rove.

I’m not Rove’s biggest fan, but I have to say that I’m kind of on his side on this one. I realise the Correspondents’ Dinner has a long-standing history of being oodles of irreverent sass all bundled up with bad chicken, but I still think that Crow and David were out of line. There’s a time and a place for serious conversation. I think most of us learned when we were about 18 or 19 that you don’t walk up to someone at a formal dinner and accost them about your political differences. That krep may work on maudlin CW dramas–“Dean Krumholz, don’t you care about the monkeys in the lab?!?”–but doesn’t fly in the real world.

All of the coverage I’ve seen has been word-of-mouth reports from Crow and David, with no third party actually witnessing the event. I’d love to see a third-party’s take on the thing. Because right now it seems all we have is some bitchy gossip from Crow and David about what went down. I know this country thinks that gossip passes for news, but I’m still finicky about that.

UPDATE:  I’m not actually behind in my car payment.  My car is actually paid for.  It was just an example.  Don’t freak out.

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Stacey Week continues with this profile in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

“They don’t like to talk about ideas. I do,” Campfield said in an interview. … Campfield says most of his legislative proposals come from reading or listening and then thinking.

Great. Just great. The State House is now Campfield’s personal frat? His own personal platform? I would again point to the oath of office he took, and how it talks about not doing harm or abridging the rights of Tennesseans.

So why do I care about a legislator who doesn’t represent my district? Glen made a good point when he raised that question over the weekend. These two articles explain why I care.

Being an elected as a representative is supposed to mean that an individual is a trustworthy safeguards of the interests of his constituency. No, he isn’t going to agree with every constituent on every matter, but he should at least be considerate of the needs and desires of his people.

Campfield is a very public symptom of the problems within our current representative democracy. He is in the Statehouse NOT to represent the people of his district but rather to be known as some sort of maverick philosopher. I’m glad that he is spurred to action by “reading and thinking”–all evidence to the contrary–but that’s not the purpose of a legislator.

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Yesterday was Hitler’s birthday. I can only assume that one of our employees in the statehouse decided to honour this ‘special occasion’ by nicknaming a blogger of German extraction ‘Kleinhitler’. (There you go, ACK. There’s your stupid hotlink.)

Glen Dean informs me that I need to lighten right the heck up because I take this stuff ‘way too seriously’. David Oatney informs Anne that it’s okay for a public employee to tease someone like this because Campfield and Oatney have ‘broken bread’ with Kleinheider.

I guess I just have a different idea of the definitions of ‘tease’ and ‘funny’ and ‘horrible monster who slaughtered millions of people and ignited a global cataclysm.’

I joke about a lot of things, and I think–all evidence to the contrary–that I’ve got a pretty healthy sense of humour. But there are things that my sense of decency prevents me from seeing as a punchline. Hitler is not a punchline. Calling people ‘hitler’ as a joke destigmatises the horror of Adolf Hitler’s crimes. It turns that hideous monster, that foul butcher, that odious slime into an innocuous urban legend of a thing. It removes Hitler from that special place of evil example where he’s been kept all these years and allows him to move among the ordinary. It downplays his crimes against humanity by treating them as nothing more than footnotes in his biography.

Pardon me for not finding any of this particularly funny. Especially when it’s instigated by someone who is a public SERVANT.

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Early reports seem to confirm the rumours of yesterday. The Virginia Tech Mass Murderer was a student at the college.

I went to college. I loved it and I hated it. And believe me when I say right now that at my small Indiana college there were at least three people I could have easily seen break down in this same way. In fact, we used to joke about one of them openly. Our school had a “bell tower”, although I don’t know if there are actual bells in it–to me they always sounded like a recording of a carillon, not the actual thing. We would kid around about not letting So-and-So near the bell tower or joke with his roommate about hiding ladders and high-powered rifles.

I don’t think any of us ever said one thing to university authorities about how unhinged these people were. Why would we? Most of us were chronologically adults but functionally adolescent. That social dynamic was one of the most terrifying parts of college for me. Here we were, a bunch of people who didn’t even know how to cope with the stress of a really hard Russian Studies exam being told that we were preparing for The Adult World.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t understand that logic, and it’s one of the reasons I left after my second year. How exactly was having all our meals provided to us, all our housing taken care of and not earning any money a preparation for adulthood? How was sitting under a tree and talking about leading German thinkers and metaphysics going to help me pay a light bill in the outside world? Don’t get me wrong. I loved all that stuff. If I had my way I would have been a college student forever. I would roll out of bed, throw on comfy clothes, go eat the nice hot breakfast some poor schmoe woke up at 4:30 to fix for me and then Talk About Ideas all day. (In fact, that’s one of the things I love about blogging. It’s some of what I loved about college, without any hackysack.)

But life doesn’t work that way, and some of the worst pressures come from knowing that at the end of the line you’ve got to be ready to get out there and be productive. I personally decided to get out there two years early in order to preserve my sanity. How many kids don’t? How many kids, believing that the only path to success is a four-year college degree earned in the traditional manner, crack under the strain?

I don’t know why this young man–boy?–man?–did what he did. I’m sure the news shows and talk shows and newspapers and blogs will chat about it for the next couple of weeks. I do think, however, that it might be a good idea for us to talk about the reality of college and how we deal with those who are broken by it.

Update: After I hammered this out, I surfed over to bridgett’s world. Check out what she has to say about all of this from a Prof’s perspective.

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Sad Day

I may be living too far south to post this. I know more than one of my fellow libertarians will be standing by with the bucket of hot pitch once I post this.

I love–seriously LOVE–Abraham Lincoln.

And today is the anniversary of the day he was shot to death, point blank in the head, by a power-mad actor.

Yes, Lincoln had many faults. Yes, he suspended the right to Habeaus Corpus. We libertarians are not prone to forgive him for this.

But I can and I do. Because the course of freedom for all people changed as a direct result of Lincoln’s prosecution of the Civil War. I’m well aware that the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t actually free any slaves. I’m also well-aware that the struggle for Civil Rights continues to this very minute. But were it not for Lincoln and his Scot stubbornness this country would be a very different place, with true equality even harder to come by.

Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

Think on that, and remember fondly the man who said it.

In a strange twist of fate, this is also the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. You can spend hours reading all of those details here.

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except my dad, my brother and Roger Abramson.

I’m prattling on about tort reform over at Mack’s place.

And no word about how my position on TR directly contradicts my libertarianism. I know that it does. And I’m duly ashamed.

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I had a long post all simmering on the back burner that went into much detail about Evangelicals and conservative politics with a dash of Church of Christ thrown in. But it’s Friday and I have no desire to go there right now. Maybe later in the day. Maybe Monday when all the political wonks are done misunderstanding the Christian Church and I can get my thoughts out there untainted.

For now, though, I’m going to do a Friday Random Ten because it’s FRIDAY. And you’re supposed to do a Random Ten if you blog, I guess. I do try so very hard to follow the blogging trends. It is only out of mercy for you, the kind person reading this blog that I don’t engage in Half-Naked Thursday. I really don’t want to blamed for “Kill Me Now Friday”.

So without further ado, I give you my Friday Random Ten.

  1. Blackbird           Artist: Sarah McLachlan  I Am Sam Soundtrack
  2. Burning Love    Artist: Elvis Presley  Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
  3. Box Set      Artist: Barenaked Ladies  Gordon
  4. Missisissippi Half Step/Uptown Toodeloo       Artist: Grateful Dead  Without A Net
  5. Typical Male        Artist: Tina Turner  Tina Turner’s Greatest Hits
  6. Shreveport Stomp       Artist: Jelly Roll Morton   The Greatest Ragtime of the Century
  7. Bard Dance       Artist: Enya  The Celts
  8. If I Had Words       Artist: Nigel Westlake Babe Motion Picture Soundtrack
  9. Luck In My Eyes       Artist: k.d. lang   Absolute Torch And Twang
  10. The King Of The Golden Hall       Artist: Howard Shore   Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

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Wes Comer has two separate posts along the same theme. The general idea is that Fred Thompson (like Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer) is a sort of he-man kickarse action figure.

Am I bad for wanting our next president to do simple, ordinary things?

Let’s balance the budget. Let’s get realistic about the true cost-to-benefits analysis on the War on Drugs. Let’s keep our nation from harm by having a strong defence. (For the record a “defence” is what you have in case you are attacked. “Preventative defence” is aggression.) Let’s reform our immigration policy to make it more humane while at the same time making the protection of our borders a reality instead of a long-standing inside joke. Let’s reform the national Ponzi scheme we call ‘social security’.

Maybe its time that various campaign teams stop trying to sell us on the toughness of their candidate and start finding men who actually want to do the job we need to have done.

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So I’ve gotten myself caught up in a bit of a feud. (Yes, I’m certain that shocks all of you to your very core.) The long and the short of the matter is that some folks back in my hometown want to generate renewed interest in the downtown area. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. Problem is that they want to do it by leaving the existing Single A Minor League Baseball Field and relocating the team in a spanky new downtown field with condos and restaurants all around it.
Sound familiar?

So, I’m on the side of the angels in this, arguing against sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into something so completely wrongheaded. That’s just how we libertarians roll. The thing is that one of the local Metro Councilmen, a theoretical Republican, has decided that I Hate Fort Wayne and All Of It’s Leaders.

This came as a great surprise to my husband, who ferries me up there twice a year on nostalgic visits, going with me to all my favourite hometown places. It especially came as a great surprise to him since he has to put up with my occasional fits of wanting to move back there permanently. When I told my husband about it, his response was very enlightening.

That’s just like all those people who say that someone can’t love America if they don’t support the Iraq war. It’s ridiculous.

Which of course got me to thinking about a couple of things. First off, why exactly is it acceptable to assume that someone on the opposite side of a disagreement about policy doesn’t care about their community? Surely the very fact that they care enough to have an opinion shows they have a love for the place, be it a midsized Indiana city or the entire United States of America.

Second off, why is it automatically assumed that our Elected Officials are actually our leaders? The more I think about it, the more that very label angers me. If you are elected to a public office it should be because you are eager to serve as a representative of the people. Not because you want to be installed as some sort of money-mad spendthrift overlord. That’s the whole problem with our representative government. The men and women we elect think, mistakenly, that they’ve been vaunted to some sort of papal status whereby they are never wrong and are entitled to great profit from their actions.

Frankly, no one outside of a military or paramilitary organisation should refer to him- or herself as a leader. It’s like telling people you’re good in bed. It’s arrogant and really a decision that’s better left up to someone else.

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It looks like my brother owes me a cookie.  I bet him ages ago that Thompson would run for president.   Poopie Monkeyhead naysayed me.   Every day that I read commentary on Thompson’s near-certain candidacy I can taste the chocolate chips on my tongue.

It troubles me.   I thought for sure that I was  going to vote Third Party Libertarian (not Constitution!) in this election.   That’s ironic, though, because I realised were I to do that I would be voting the party instead of the man–the exact same thing I complain about Dems. and Repubs. doing all the time.    I rationalised it by looking at the purported men and women in the race, shuddering slightly and hoping for Ron Paul on the Lib ticket.

Well, now I’ve GOT Paul on the ticket, but Thompson is oozing out of the woodwork all over the place.    And I like the guy.   Were it not for the McCain-Feingold thing, I’d love the guy.

And now I’m stuck as I look at 2008 with TWO potentially favourable candidates instead of none.  I feel like Meredith Gray.   Maybe Ron or Fred will bring me strawberry ice cream.

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